Protesters shout as they face riot police during anti-government protests in Freetown, Sierra Leone August 10, 2022. REUTERS/Umaru Fofana

Peaceful Assembly

Protests over rising prices: several killed, a nationwide curfew and internet disruption

At least a dozen people were killed during protests that erupted in Freetown and other major cities in Sierra Leone on 10th August 2022. The demonstrations, gathering hundreds of people, were sparked by high inflation, the rising cost of basic goods and the perceived failure of the government to cushion the effects of these rising prices. Violent clashes between protesters and security forces were reported at some localities with protesters burning tyres and throwing stones. According to AFP, security forces were seen firing live ammunition at protesters. Police said on 11th August 2022 that at least six police officers were killed in Freetown, Kamakwie and Makeni, while news reports indicate that at least six protesters were killed. Dozens of protesters were reportedly arrested

News reports further indicate that Sierra Leone's national security coordinator asked on 9th August 2022 that the armed forces be mobilised to back up the police from 9th to 12th August 2022 due to the “potentially volatile security situation”. On 10th August, Vice-President Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh announced during a national live broadcast that a nationwide curfew would go into effect starting at 3PM local time. Meanwhile, internet freedom CSO Netblocks confirmed a nationwide disruption of internet access on 10th August 2022 across multiple providers which lasted for two hours with national connectivity at five percent of normal levels. 

As reported previously on the Monitor, several protests over the rising cost of living have taken place in the past few months.